2008 Leonetti "Reserve" Walla Walla Valley Bordeaux Blend

SKU #1068128 97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The winery flagship is the 2008 Reserve, a blend 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 11% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc aged in barrel, some of it new, for 23 months. Sandalwood, exotic spices, herbs, violets, and assorted black fruits inform the nose of a layered, succulent, plush, bordering on opulent wine that is beautifully balanced and already complex. It will continue its development for at least another 5-6 years and offer a drinking window extending from 2016 to 2028+. (JM)  (8/2011)

96 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2011* In comparison with the 2008 Cabernet, this is the bigger wine, less sleek, more chewy. As it opens in the glass, the aromas display incense scents, and there is assertive, blocky, chewy fruit--especially black cherry. The tannins are also bigger, blockier, more substantial than the Cabernet. With hours of breathing time, exotic spices (saffron and more) emerge. (PG)  (9/2011)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Full ruby-red. Cassis, licorice and roasted oak on the nose. Sweet, lush and seamless; wonderfully thick but less expressive and less urgent today than the cabernet bottling. One senses the perimeter of this powerfully built, backward wine more than its contents today. Best right now on the slowly mounting, extremely long finish, which features sweet tannins and building notes of spices and Belgian chocolate. Winemaker Chris Figgins "builds the cabernet base" of the reserve first (before picking for the cabernet sauvignon bottling), explaining that he likes some early-harvested cabernet for its aromatic complexity. 94(+?) points (ST)  (10/2011)

93 points Wine & Spirits

 Dense, primary and a touch opaque at the outset, this blend is about 70 percent cabernet, with a balance of petit verdot, merlot and cabernet franc. It seems to be all structure at first, before a fine, gentle red fruit flavor peeks through—red plum and darker cherry accents. The texture is firm and sleek at once, though the wine is a long way from peak expression. Cellar, then serve with a ribeye.  (10/2011)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Supple, generous and inviting for its pure currant, blackberry and wet earth flavors that pulse on the lively, expressive finish. Tannins are present, but well-integrated. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2018. (HS)  (10/2011)

K&L Notes

Leonetti Cellar belongs in the pantheon of domestic wine pioneers, planting grapes and making stellar wines in Washington's Walla Walla Valley back in the 1970s, when no one else really was. The wines are always extremely sought after, especially after they are reviewed, so get your hands on some before the critics make this scarce. The 2008 Reserve blends Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller amounts of Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc for an incredibly complex wine with a long future ahead of it. Notes of crushed cherry, cassis and plum are complemented by spicy cinnamon, clove, espresso bean and cedar box accents. Well-integrated and plush on the palate, this is drinking well already, but will be best a five to seven years from now. 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 11% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc.

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Price: $159.99

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.